State-owned Estonian airline Nordica is ending its current months-long run of cooperation with Slovenia's Adria Airways; its new partner airline will be LOT Polish Airlines, who will also be buying 49 percent of Nordica subsidiary Regional Jet.
Regional Jet is the divison of Nordica which manges its operational licenses and certificates as well as handles the airline's everyday operations. LOT President and CEO Rafał Milczarski said at a press conference on Friday that based on agreement by both companies, the price of the transaction would not be revealed.
Nordica and LOT will begin cooperation on Nov. 19, which will on one hand include a joint commercial platform and ticketing system as well as code-sharing.
On the other Nordica will begin offering LOT its services in operating regional flights. The first new route to begin to be served by Nordica sometime during the next few months will be Stockholm-Warsaw.
Nordica confirmed that as export of its flight services continues to grow, three new planes will be added to the Estonian airline's fleet and an additional 70 jobs will be created sometime during the next year. Nordica CEO Jaan Tamm stressed that Nordica was a small airline and that growth was necessary for survival.
Nordica's current cooperation agreement with Adria Airways had been signed for one year with the option to extend it by an additional year.
"The launch stage of Nordica as a business came to an end during the fall and we decided that we would not use the opportunity to extend the agreement," said Tamm, who thanked Adria Airways' management, thanks in large part to whom Nordica was able to quickly get itself operational.
Nordica CEO: LOT sees potential for long-term potential
According to Tamm, LOT's decision to become a shareholder of Regional Jet demonstrated that they took cooperation with Nordica seriously and saw the potential for long-term partnership and not just a short-term project.
The Estonian airline's Director of Business Development Sven Kukemelk, who will begin work as th head of Regional Jet, said that cooperatin with LOT meant that Estonians would have the opportunity to fly via Warsaw's hub to both North America and Asia.
"The most important thing is that LOT is confident in its decision and will become a shareholder," said Kukemelk. "Regional Jet is part of the LOT family; we are both interested in making Regional Jet better.
In response to Friday's announcement, the Estonian Travel and Tourism Association (ETFL) noted that Nordica's change in partners was good news, as Estonians would end up with faster connections offered by LOT via Warsaw.
"Estonians' interest in North American and Asian destinations has increased considerably and now these places will be even more accessible," said Mariann Lugus, secretary general of the association. "In addition, the contract with LOT also means that cooperation will continue with Star Alliance, which is an international quality label and whose points travelers can continue collecting at full peace of mind."
Nordica's new strategic partner will not bring with it ant changes for assnegers who have already booked flights with the airline. All scheduled flights will be operating and flight schedules will not change. Cooperation with Adria will continue for another two weeks, and all tickets purchased for this period of time will remain unchanged.
Any flights booked on or after Nov. 19 will be reissued for free as LOT tickets by travel agencies or the relevant online ticketing system.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla